Every three years, under what is called the Comprehensive Equity Plan, the U.S. Department of Education requires states to assess their public school districts to ensure their policies promote equitable employment and classroom practices, and do not permit discrimination. This year, to comply with those requirements, the New Jersey Department of Education has required many districts to update policies.

To assist with this process, the New Jersey School Boards Association has reviewed policies related to equity, and made appropriate changes. To facilitate district and charter school compliance with the requirements of the Comprehensive Equity Plan, the following policies in the Critical Policy Reference Manual have been updated:

2224 Nondiscrimination/Affirmative Action has been updated to include a section titled Comprehensive Equity Plan and the section titled School and Classroom Practices was expanded.

4111 Recruitment, Hiring and Selection was updated to include an introductory paragraph related to equity in employment. The content related to “highly qualified” which is not part of ESSA was revised to reflect the state standards. The section on residency Exemptions was revised for clarity.

4111.1/4211.1 Nondiscrimination/Affirmative Action was revised and the first two sentences of the introductory paragraph edited to include assignment, transfer and promotion. Three sections were added:  Affirmative Action Officer and Team; Employment and Contract Practices; and Appeals. The content under the section on Sexual Harassment was expanded. The section on Whistleblower Protection was revised.

4131/4131.1 Staff Development, Inservice Education, Visitation, Conferences was overhauled with changes throughout to make it more consistent with N.J.A.C. 6A:9C. The content on equity was expanded.

4211 Recruitment, Hiring and Selection (noncertified staff) has been updated to include content related to equity in employment standards required as part of the Comprehensive Equity Plan. The section on residency exemptions was revised and any redundant statement removed.

4231/4231.1 Staff Development, Inservice Education, Visitation, Conferences (noncertified staff) has been updated to include a section on achievement gap and inequity required as part of the Comprehensive Equity Plan.

5114 Suspension and Expulsion was revised to state the provision that measures will be taken to ensure that male and minority students are not disproportionately represented in detentions, suspensions and expulsions.

5145.4 Equal Educational Opportunity was edited in the fourth paragraph of the section titled Harassment to include a sentence on victims. The section on Equity in School was edited and expanded to include more content on equity programs. The section on Bias-Related Incidents was edited to be more consistent with the current law.

6121 Nondiscrimination/Affirmative Action was updated and all the bullet lists were revised to be more consistent with current NJDOE administrative code. The content on equity was expanded and a section on Appeals added.

6142.2 English as a Second Language; Bilingual Programs was overhauled with changes throughout to make it more consistent with N.J.A.C. 6A:15. The content on equity was expanded. Note: Students are no longer referred to as “limited English proficient” or LEP.  Students who are bilingual, for whom English is a second language, or who do not speak English are “English language learners” or ELLs.

6142.12 Career and Technical Education was overhauled with changes throughout to make it more consistent with N.J.A.C. 6A:19. The content on equity was expanded.

6147 Standards of Proficiency was updated and content added including paragraphs four through seven regarding the state assessment program, English language learners and classified students.

6172 Alternative Education Programs was revised and content added in the first section describing the requirements for determining when a student needs placement in an alternative education program. A section on Individualized Program Plan (IPP) was added. The sections on Disruptive/Disaffected Children and Potential Dropouts were deleted because these groups are now referred to as “students at risk for school failure.”

The updates may be downloaded from the Policy Update List on the policy webpage at www.njsba.org. The Policy Update List has moved and is now located in the Critical Policy Reference Manual (CPRM) folder. If you have any questions regarding the policy revisions contact Jean Harkness, policy consultant, at jharkness@njsba.org.

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